I'll be the first to say it.
I've got some pretty nice perks that come along with the work I do. High at the top of my list is the connections I have made with incredible brands and other creatives. A perfect example of this is Allagash Brewing Company. I first met them a few years ago when I was on this trip. I wasn't overly familiar with them at the time, but craft beers + anything originating from one of my favorite states (aka Maine) = I'm sold. While it was definitely love at first sip, as I've continued to follow and keep in touch with them over the years, and learned more about the brand and the people behind it and all the epic things they're doing, I can firmly say they are by far my favorite beer brand (and not just because they brew some of the best beers around).
The people behind the brand are truly some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. They absolutely kill it with their photography and put together some of the best and most beautiful marketing initiatives and events I've ever seen from a brand. They go above and beyond to show their appreciation for their employees, their customers and their community. And speaking of community, they truly embrace theirs by partnering with and highlighting other local businesses both in Portland and throughout their home-state of Maine. Last but certainly not least, I'm blown away by the ways in which they give back to local area organizations through community grants, specific beers whose proceeds go to various programs and volunteering their time, among other things. It speaks volumes of who they are as people and as a brand.
Suffice it to say, when they reached out asking me to host a casual gathering in LA, I couldn't say yes fast enough. Not only was I flattered that they had asked me to work with them in this capacity, I was also super excited to help our friends become more familiar with a beer and brand that both Dave and I love so much.
After toying around with several ideas, we settled on an East Coast Meets West Coast theme. While there’s pretty much nothing that Allagash's beers don't pair well with, I wanted food that would be as chill as the assortment of beers so people could truly relax and enjoy themselves. We decided on a taco spread, complete with all the necessary toppings and sides, because honestly, what’s more LA than tacos?! Plus, tacos are super customizable for everyone’s dietary needs. While we set up most of the tacos as a DIY taco bar, we also had pre-assembled some special tacos, using lobster in honor of Maine, of course, and taco boat shells as a nod to lobster rolls, an east Coast staple. Of course, there were a wide variety of Allagash beers, everything from the White to the Curieux to Tripel and Pick Your Own. And, if you know me, you know I can’t do anything without dessert, so, for our gathering, I adapted my Great-Grandmother’s famous spiced blueberry sauce, with nods to the east coast in both the blueberries and maple, and added a touch of bourbon inspired by Allagash’s Curieux. We served it over vanilla ice-cream, because, I mean, it’s not a proper summer gathering if ice-cream isn’t involved, right?! Between the food, the beers and the friends, it truly could not have been a more perfect recipe for a relaxed Sunday afternoon of gathering over East Coasts beers with West Coast food.
To host your own East Coast Meets West Coast gathering, I've included the full menu (with links to each recipe) below, and you can check here to see where to purchase Allagash beer near you.
The biggest thank you to Allagash for being such a rad company, supplying us all at the party with some epic beers and for somehow thinking I was worthy of hosting such a gathering. I’m truly honored. And, of course, to all our friends who showed up to hang out, eat some tacos, but mostly to throw back a few cold ones with us.
Images by Mathew Trogner for Allagash, myself + David Levine